Prison Overcrowding: South Carolina

Below is a summary of information including: statistics from South Carolina’s Department of Corrections, an overview of the state’s prison overcrowding dilemma, as well as helpful references and points of contact for those interested in resolving the problem.

Facts and Figures

DOC Costs

  • Dept of Corrections: $405,361,183
  • Average annual cost per inmate: $18,299

DOC Staff and Population

  • Total department active personnel: 5,693
  • Total incarcerated under DOC jurisdiction: 21,560
  • Inmate to correctional officer ratio: 9.2 : 1
  • Total number of institutions: 26
  • Average length of sentenc: 13years 7months
  • Average time served: 2 year 2 months
  • Average age: 37 years

Organization of state divisions, view here.

Parole and Probation

  • Parole population:1,542
  • Probation population: 28,775
  • Average length of parole supervision: 19 months
  • Average length of probation supervision: 23 months

Overcrowding Quick Facts

  • “Financial – For the year ended June 30, 2008, SCDC operated at a deficit of $3.9 million. Increases in food, utilities, transportation and medical, in addition to a steadily rising increase in the inmate population, has made it impossible to operate within the current level of allocation from the State. SCDC contributed $12 million from other funding sources (i.e., Prison Industries, Canteen) to support mandated services to inmates.”
  • “Human Resources – SCDC continues to be understaffed in security position due to a lack of sufficient candidates and a turnover rate of 35.5% for correctional officers (up from 34.4% last year).”
  • “Operational – Funding issues have impacted operations in several areas. Facilities Management continues to patch equipment which should be replaced with newer, more efficient equipment. Security is impacted by radios that don’t work inside institutions; weaponry that is so old we can no longer purchase replacement parts and have difficulty finding ammunition; increased incidents of contraband coming in over perimeter fencing; inmates housed three to a cell at some institutions and in some instances housed two to a cell in lock-up areas.”

Points of Contact

Helpful Links

South Carolina DOC

DOC Statistical Reports

FY 12-13 Agency Accountability Report

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact: 

Cara Sullivan

Task Force Director
Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development
& Justice Performance Project